A week or two ago the family and I went to see Les Miserables at the movie theater. We rarely go see a movie, but figured a classic story as a foundation for a great spectacle of show makes this worth seeing on the big screen rather than through the TV.
It was a good call.
For those not familiar with Victor Hugo’s classic, the story takes place after the French Revolution in the early 1800s. The gap between the Haves and Have Nots is vast and the government doesn’t seem to care. Sound familiar? Anne Hathaway’s character sells her teeth and hair (and more) to try to make ends meet. Most of the population is, well, miserable.
The only source of grace and compassion in the entire story is from The Church. Jean Valjean, a cold, hungry homeless thief is taken in by a priest, is fed and cared for and given extraordinary grace. The priest just makes a simple request. That in return for that grace, he commit himself to leading a more Christ-like life.
Valjean does so and prospers. He is able to care for those who would have nothing, set an example, even become a town mayor who is loved and respected at a time when few in power are.
What if Jean Valjean lived in your town? Is your church a place where he might be fed, clothed and warmed? Are you in the habit of providing grace with the only proviso that the recipient be encouraged to turn to God?
Our society may not be ready to throw up the barricades and stage a full revolt, but we have plenty of Les Miserables right here in East Ohio.
If I ask if your church is helping, I’m sure you’ll tell me it. But what if I asked you to look at your budget, your allocation of volunteer time and your culture. When considering those items, are you as much about outreach as you’d like to be?